Animal control: Frigid temps dangerous for pets

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In the middle of a bitterly cold stretch, animal shelters in West Michigan are urging pet owners to be mindful of their furry friends.

Animal control officers in Kent County said that in the past week, they have seen a major spike in calls from concerned citizens about animals, especially dogs, being left out in the cold.

Some breeds of dogs may handle the cold better than others, but animal control says it’s so cold now that it’s best not to leave any type of dog outside for long periods of time.

Fines or even criminal charges could be filed in animal neglect or cruelty cases.

Officers say they have not seized any dogs in cold weather cases this year, but have in the past. In rare instances, officers say, the situation has been even worse.

“If I recall correctly, winter of 2013, probably one of the last really bad bad winters we had, we actually had a few dogs over that winter that when people called us, the dogs were already deceased,” Kent County Animal Shelter Supervisor Carly Luttmann said. “Again, that’s why we want people to call and let us know if they see a concern.”

The Kent County Animal Shelter can be reached at 616.632.7300.

Animal control officers say that if you’re taking a pet with you to run errands and leave it in the car, make sure your vehicle is warm enough and leave a note on your window with your name and phone number in case a passerby has any concerns.